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i am going to by a new fly rod i am going after

Who could blame you for wanting to get going right away, and there is no doubt that fly rods are way too expensive, and for no apparent good reason. That said, it's the reality we have to live with.

Unfortunately, many rods under $100 don't seem to be worth $10, and can be almost useless for steelhead fishing. The first rod I bought was a $100 Cortalnd #8 for steelhead fishing. It cost me years of frustration. That rod just did not have the performance characteristics necessary to throw the kinds of casts steelhead fishing calls for. I went years believing that I was never going to get it right. When I finally broke down and bought a Sage, I was amazed to find that I could cast after all.

The good news is that you can definitely get started trout fishing with a less expensive rod. There are certainly lots of advantages to having a high-performance rod for trout fishing, but nothing that you can't do without, or that can't be overcome with technique. Since your other problem is that there really isn't a good weight that's going to do you well for both steelhead and trout, you might want to start with a five or six wieght for trout. (A seven weight might sound like a good compromise, and will play both species adequately, but line/rod weight is more a casting than fish-fighting function (I've landed ten lb coho on a six weight). A seven weight will start to give you trouble both when you start throwing really big winter steelhead flies, and when you try to turn over really long, fine leaders for picky trout.) You can get started having fun fishing lakes and streams for trout, and start saving for an adequate steelhead rod (plus you'll catch a lot more fish).

In the meantime, Loomis, St. Croix, and Redington probably make the best rods in the price-points you're looking for. I agree that you should stay away from the fly shops for now; Outdoor Emporium, Salmon Bay Tackle in Ballard, or the Seattle REI all carry the rods your looking for,and at the same time will be knowledgable and sensitive to your needs (stay away from someplace like Big 5 or Fred Meyer). Or you could get one of the "intro-rods" most high-end manufacturers offer. They are made with the same blanks as their more expensive rods, but with less finish-detail, cheaper reel-seats, etc. They might actually be a little more $ than you're talking about, but they offer an opportunity to get a little more performance, particularly if you have your heart set on a steelhead rod.

Good luck.
 
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